One of the major components to achieving success in anything is having the right network and connections. A lot of people forget that your network simply isn’t about gaining a ton of contacts. It’s quality over quantity, you get what you negotiate for. So many people make the mistake of filling their network with useless contacts that can’t help them in any way shape or form. And in the end, they left with no one to call on when it really counts.

Building a quality network takes time,  but will better serve you in the long run. The problem is most people don’t know how to build connections with the right people or even how to decide who those people are. If you find yourself in this position, follow this advice and watch how the quality of your network shoots through the roof.

There are 2 main components to growing a quality network: defining the right people and establishing the right way to connect with them. Both are pretty simple, but require you to do the research and take a hands-on approach, especially when you’re just starting out. 9 times out of 10, the right people won’t just end up in your pathway until you establish yourself. But the more quality connections you build, the easier it becomes.


This step is important, however, a lot of people neglect to do this. For instance, I come across people with an extensive list of LinkedIn connections, however, they may have 5 people among them that they can actually utilize for their own goals. This is because so many people get on social media and just accept every request to connect that comes their way. This is a backward way of thinking. Personally, when people request to connect with me, I ask myself two questions: Do I know this person? If the answer is yes and I have a good rapport with them, I will gladly accept. If I don’t know the person which is more common than not using a platform like LinkedIn, the second question is the most important. Does this person have something valuable to offer?  Everyone that you come across doesn’t serve a purpose in your goals. Therefore, it would be useless to connect with them if they can’t add value to your current or future career and business endeavors. Vetting the people you connect with is a step that you CANNOT skip. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself connecting with a bunch of useless idiots.

This same process applies to people you meet through any pathway. Maybe you come across someone at a networking event. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions to gain an understanding of why they want to connect with you and what they can do for you. And if they have nothing to offer, there is no need to establish an ongoing relationship. Doing this will save you a lot of time and protect you from getting the short end of the stick because before you even realize it, someone can get everything they need out of you and you have gotten nothing valuable in return. Of course, what you see as valuable will be dependent on your own goals and views. So, just because someone is not valuable to you doesn’t mean that they can’t be valuable to the next person. It’s nothing personal, just business.


With all that’s going on right now, there has been a great shift to building online connections. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when done with care. As mentioned earlier, connecting on social media is a great way to build connections, but must be done with intent. For instance, if you come across a person that you feel could be an asset to you and your goals, don’t just send a request and let it be. This is a very common mistake and your request is likely to be rejected or ignored. Instead, send a personalized message with your request. Keep it brief, but include enough information to outline why you would like to connect and what you have to offer them in return. Remember, when networking, things can’t be one-sided. Yes, they will be valuable to you, but you have to come with something that you can bring to the table. Otherwise, they’ll decline if they’re smart.

While social media can come in handy, perhaps your best bet is to join some organizations. This is a great way to build a connection because in general, it takes care of the first step for you. If you do your research and pick the right organization, then you know that you all share common interests and similar goals. This is because the bulk of the vetting process has been done by the organization to begin. The key is to choose an organization that aligns with your needs. If you’re into entrepreneurship, well it’s probably not going to be beneficial for you to join the “national plumbing association.” So choose your organizations wisely. The thing that is more important for you to remember is that you can’t just join an organization, you must be an active member if you want to actually build real connections. Participate in events, attend meetings regularly, reach out to other members and personally introduce yourself. Otherwise, you’re not only wasting your time but are degrading the quality of the organization. No one wants to join an organization with a bunch of inactive members.

Building your network is an ongoing thing. It’s not going to happen overnight. But when you have quality connections, they can last a lifetime. Utilize these tips to make the most out of your network. After all, your network is your net worth!


Written by

Ziad K. Abdelnour, Wall Street financier, trader and author is President & CEO of Blackhawk Partners, Inc., a private family office that backs accomplished operating executives in growing their businesses both organically and through acquisitions and trades physical commodities – mostly oil derivatives – throughout the world.